PHILADELPHIA – Credit unions weren't immune to the litany of scandals and fraud that rocked the investment world. Individual investors as well as credit unions and banks were sold $370 million worth of bogus CDs from Robert L. Bentley, doing business as Entrust Group, and Bentley Financial Services, Inc., a defunct broker. Through at least two distributions with more to come, financial recovery finally arrived through a court-appointed receiver by the SEC, IRS and the U.S. Department of Justice. Of the 222 investors that submitted claims to the receiver, 103 were credit unions. To date, more than $280 million have been distributed to claimants through David Marion, the court-appointed receiver. The receivership is the largest in SEC history, according to SEC officials. In 2001, the SEC obtained temporary restraining orders and asset freezes against Bentley Financial in connection with a Ponzi scheme for the sell of supposed bank-issued CDs to investors. The CDs were in fact uninsured securities issued by Bentley and other defendants named in the SEC suit. Four salesmen who worked for Bentley Financial Services – Robert Glazewski, Matthew Matz, Jeffrey Patterson and Terrance Turman along with Bentley, were suspended from participating in the securities industry and have been ordered to make restitution payments to the receivership, according to the SEC suit. An investment broker who bilked members of Boeing Wichita Credit Union out of their retirement savings was charged with fraud, sentenced to prison for 57 months and ordered to pay $1.89 million in restitution earlier this year. Richard Scott Wood, owner of Retirement Services Group, had contracted with BWCU to offer members financial products and services. According to U.S. Attorney Eric Melgren, Wood ran a "scheme" from January to December 2001 in which he obtained money from credit union members and then authorized checks payable to his company or had the funds transferred directly to his personal account. Authorities say instead of investing the money for members he used the funds in day trading. BWCU has since replaced members' money, with interest from its reserves, Melgren said. Wood was convicted on Feb. 4 on 27 counts of bank fraud, one count of money laundering, 15 counts of wire fraud and three counts of interstate transportation of stolen money. Two so-called brokers in Arkansas used a fictitious credit union to allegedly promise guaranteed returns on investments that had no value, according to the Arkansas Securities Department (ASD). Nicolas Krug and Charles Elliott used a number of business alias including International Credit Union to sell securities involving an "equity evaluation" for homeowners, the ASD said. Elliott, Krug and their agents purported to identify equity in homes that could be used to secure a loan in order to purchase a "rebate certificate," said John Moore, ASD chief counsel. Homeowners would obtain a loan in an amount that would pay Elliot, Krug or their agents at least 17% of the appraised value of their home. In exchange for payment, the homeowner receives a rebate certificate purporting to pay them after five years, profits ranging from 488.24% to 566.67% of the original amount paid by the homeowner. The ASD ordered an immediate cease and desist order in October, which currently remains in effect, Moore said. Moore's office is in "discussions with (Krug and Elliot's) lawyer on making a recession offer over a portion of the sales but a lot has to happen for this to occur." "I hesitate to get anyone's hopes up high" about any recession, Moore emphasized. The ASD has yet to hear from anyone who's been bilked. [email protected]

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